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Why Principals Should Understand Educational Policy

There is no question that principals and assistant principals bear an enormous amount of responsibility every day as leaders of their schools. However, due to widespread understaffing, these administrators take on many different roles in the day-to-day management of the schools and their staff.

In addition to management, principals also serve as district representatives and public liaisons for their schools. They must understand and manage legal issues concerning their communities. Principals must be able to guide their schools on implementing and following all local, state and federal procedures and secure privacy and other personal needs on a student-to-student basis. Ensuring full compliance requires remembering and applying a tremendous amount of information and knowledge.

The Perks of an M.A. in Urban Education With a Concentration in Principal Preparation

A graduate program such as the online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Urban Education with a concentration in Principal Preparation program from Norfolk State University helps elevate educators into principal and assistant principal roles and provides them with a dynamic understanding of school leadership and how it relates to legal policy. Like all teacher education programs at Norfolk State University, the online M.A. Urban Education – Principal Preparation program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), formerly known as the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). In addition, this program is approved by the Virginia Department of Education and leads to the Administration and Supervision PreK-12 Endorsement.

Graduates of the program will receive training they can use, in addition to professional experience, in classroom settings to boost student achievement, teachers’ instructional strategies and organizational effectiveness. They will also receive the necessary knowledge and skills to keep schools on the leading edge of areas like law and policy.

Current Educational Policy Issues for Principals

The legal landscape for schools always involves a host of issues, such as privacy and liability. Given the numerous “ins and outs” of these issues, principals must keep a working knowledge of best practices.

As this article from Education Week explains, schools face unprecedented challenges regarding liability insurance following the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the changes to schools and their operations have forced many principals to adapt their responsibilities and roles in their districts.

Education Week notes that the COVID-19 pandemic birthed a host of new large-scale legal and health questions. For instance, are liability waivers — the same kind that parents might sign for a field trip — a way for students to attend class in exchange for a promise not to sue the district over potential exposure to COVID-19 or other viruses? Additionally, education professionals have been debating whether liability insurance will cover certain COVID-19-related claims.

Becoming a Proactive Principal

Although the pandemic did create new legal concerns for schools, principals have always confronted the continual reinvention or arrival of new standards. As this op-ed from the National Association of Secondary Principals argues, one of the best approaches principals can use is to be assertive and make their voices heard. They are “at the crossroads of policy and practice” and “work on behalf of many constituents, including students and families, staff and district leadership, school boards, and departments of education.”

Especially in the face of so many new challenges, effective school leaders must be able to assert the needs of their students and community and not simply react. Norfolk State’s online M.A. Urban Education – Principal Preparation program offers students a dynamic set of skills to be effective principals and strong leaders within today’s policy landscape.

Learn more about Norfolk State University’s online M.A. in Urban Education with a concentration in Principal Preparation program.

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